Bishop John Jewel’s Apology of the Church of England is a comprehensive statement of faith, as well as an important political and historical document of Elizabethan England. It was also intended as a Protestant answer to the Roman Catholic accusations of heresy. Bishop Jewel emphasizes the continuity between the Reformers’ thought and the truth of the Scriptures, the apostles, and church fathers such as Augustine, Tertullian, Ambrose, and Jerome.
The Apology’s statement of doctrine begins with an affirmation of the Nicene Creed. Jewel hoped to defend the doctrinal beliefs of Protestant Reformers more effectively by establishing their orthodoxy and common roots. This treatise’s elegant language and clear statements of conviction were an unparalleled service to the Church when published in 1562, and this remains a significant document today. Students of church history and scholars alike will find Bishop Jewel’s Apology a valuable addition to their library.
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[Jewel is the] worthiest divine that Christendom hath bred for some hundreds of years . . .
—Richard Hooker, priest and theologian
John Jewel (1522–1571) was a bishop who sought to ground the Church of England in its beliefs after the divisions caused by Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I. In his sermons, he challenged the Catholic Church to defend its beliefs out of Scripture or the words of the Church Fathers. The ensuing debates led him to publish Apology of the Church of England, which presented a precise explanation of the stance of the Church of England against Catholicism and established him as the literary apologist of his time.